Oakland students to compete in spelling bee

February 5, 2009 8:24:43 AM PST
The Oakland Unified School district is busily preparing for its annual elementary and middle school spelling bee scheduled for this evening.

Children will compete in two division, an elementary school division for fourth and fifth grade students, and a middle school division for sixth, seventh and eighth students.

The top eight spellers in each level will advance to the Alameda County Spelling Bee in March.

Winners of the county bee will qualify for the statewide competition.

According to the school district, the 2006 movie Akeelah and the Bee reinvigorated interest in spelling bees, prompting the district to resurrect its own spelling bee program.

Brian Zheng of Laurel Elementary School and Alex Cowles of Claremont Middle School were the winners of last year's competition.

Both students plan to return this year to defend their titles, according to the district.